Before we leave our month-long relationship focus, we will take a look at the connection between solo sleep and long-term relationships. Cuddle up, darling, let’s delve into sleeping together – not in the ooh-la-la, let’s get it on sleeping together way, but in terms of drifting off and catching some shuteye.
According to Shakespeare, a well-known authority on everything, sleep ‘knits up the ravell’d sleave of care, The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath, Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course, Chief nourisher in life’s feast.’ According to Dr. Seuss, the other well-known authority on everything, ‘You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams….’ Combined, the sage advice of these two great authorities (and why not combine them?!) might imply that when we nourish life’s feast in the sleep of a long-term relationship, we are no longer in love.
On the contrary! Good sleep makes for a good attitude – about everything, including your feelings for your beloved. A few years ago, a UC Berkley study found that sleep deprivation has a negative effect on our feelings of love and gratitude towards our romantic partner. The results of the study “shed new light on the emotional interdependence of sleep partners, offering compelling evidence that a bad night’s sleep leaves people less attuned to their partner’s moods and sensitivities. For many couples, nighttime can turn into a battleground due to loud snoring, sheet-tugging or one partner tapping on a laptop while the other tosses and turns.” (https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-01/uoc–psc011713.php) “Poor sleepers had a harder time counting their blessings and valuing their partners.” So sleep well, darling, you will be a better lover in the long run.
But alas, enemies of sleep rule the night! 60 million Americans suffer from insomnia; 18 million American are kept awake by sleep apnea; 90 million of us actively snore. Perhaps sleep and long-term relationships are not such good bedfellows after all?
Though we may cuddle and spoon as we drift off to sleep, each of us actually sleeps alone with our own dreams, thoughts, and fantasies. “Sleep, much like running a marathon or chewing food, is a solitary activity.” (https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/06/why-we-sleep-together/371477/)
Sleeping together can certainly build deep, sweet bonds, but when faced with sleep disruptions and disorders, sleeping apart might be the key to keeping you and your sweetheart together. Without the standard nighttime disputes about how many blankets or bedroom temperatures or whether or not the dog gets to sleep on the bed with you, we sleep more soundly when we sleep alone. Some studies show that sleeping separately can actually improve your relationship. Sleeping solo can fulfill some of your individual and separate needs which in turn can make you a better partner.
It’s all about your reasons for sleeping apart. If you do it to nourish the relationship, slaap leckker, sleep tight. If you do it so you won’t kill your beloved under cover of darkness, by all means, sleep together. Work it out, then sleep together. Never go to sleep angry.